The Red-hot poker, or Torch lily, is easily recognized by its distinctive and dramatic flower spikes during its springtime flowering cycle. When not flowering, it is recognized as a clumping perennial with soft and flexible strap-like leaves often growing 2-3 ft. high and as wide.
The Red-hot poker is a popular seasonal flowering accent plant. Many cultivars are now available from nurseries and garden centers; some are large and robust, others are petite. The common flower color is orange and yellow. One cultivar, K. u.‘Christmas Cheer’ is a robust cultivar with 4-5 ft. long leaves. It flowers in late fall near the holidays, with stalks reaching 4-5 ft. tall. Emerging flowers are orange-red and open to a rich gold color.
Other cultivars include: K. u. ‘Malibu Yellow’ has clear lemon-yellow flowers; K. u.‘Shining Sceptre’ has pumpkin orange flowers, and K. u. ‘Wilhelm’s Lance’ is a giant selection with intense red-orange and yellow flowers. All are fine additions to border and mixed perennial plantings, as well as for raised planters and banks. Sunny locations, loam soil and moderate water throughout the year achieve the best performance.